“I remember at the beginning when these reports were being published... I got shocked,” she recalls. “Why are they saying that I'm an extremist because I'm criticising foreign policy... it doesn't really make sense to me at all. It was mentally and emotionally exhausting to just take in all the time.”
Facing these attacks, Sahar shares a stage with the US congresswoman Ilhan Omar, whose forthright critique of American foreign policy, among other things, has generated a vicious backlash from the man many see as the figurehead of global racism: Donald Trump.
But as we talk in her sparse Cardiff office on a wet day in late winter, it is clear that these attacks have had the opposite effect of wearing Sahar down. This too is a trait she shares with Omar.
“The very thing they want to achieve is to silence [me],” Sahar says calmly. “It’s easier for them to silence voices of people of colour and black people because of the discriminatory environment around them. And I use that as a motivation. Because ultimately, I know for a fact that the likes of Henry Jackson Society and the likes of ISIS and those who sympathise with them; they both agree on one thing: that someone like me should be in the kitchen. And that's it. I shouldn't be out there participating, being vocal and so on. And because of that, I challenge these kind of narratives even more. So while I've been a victim of a hate crime in the streets. I've been also a victim of institutional Islamophobia and exclusion from public life.”
The level of personal pressure Sahar faces is immense, but her determination to resist Islamophobia goes far beyond herself. It is also a response to the fact that anti-Muslim racism is now so widespread across modern Britain and goes from the top to the bottom of our society.
In the last twenty three months alone, MEND has recorded four hundred cases relating to Islamophobic abuse. A massive 80% of these cases are directed at Muslim women and, according to official figures, the overwhelming majority of perpetrators are white men.
“What that tells you,” says Sahar. “Is that Islamophobia is gendered. You have men abusing their power against the most vulnerable of our community who happen to be Muslim.”
Someone who has first hand experience of this kind of abuse is Ayesha Khan, a Muslim woman in her twenties who Sahar puts us in touch with.
When we arrive to meet Ayesha in her home in West Cardiff, she is with her mother who makes us some tea and coffee before leaving us some time to talk. The two of them, Ayesha explains, were forced to run away from their home in Neath Port Talbot nine years ago.
Arriving back to the house one night, they were met by a group of men in balaclavas surrounding their car. It was just the two of them living in the house at that point and naturally they were terrified. When they threatened to call the police the men disappeared, but shortly after a nail was hammered through their doorbell. Then, someone rang the house phone and aggressively repeated the word ‘Paki’ down the line several times. It was the final straw.
But in the ten years she lived there from the age of six, Ayesha went through a huge amount of racial abuse that expressed itself in a myriad of ways.
She describes an incident that took place when she was only eight. “We used to swing around these bars as little kids," she recalls. "So I remember I was just playing with one of my friends and just swinging on the bars.”
“And then while I was swinging upside down, somebody came and just put eggs on my head. And it was like. Why me? Why only me? Why wasn't my friend attacked or anything like that? And these were boys that were much older. They must have been 18 or 19.”
Sitting across from us in her neat living room, Ayesha is warm and friendly, and talks openly about her experiences and the impact it had on her as a child.
“You just feel like everyone else,” she explains. “You don't look at yourself in the mirror and be like, ‘Oh, I'm brown and everyone else isn't.’ You don't think of yourself as different until people pointed it out and then you start feeling different and then you just kind of learn how to defend yourself all the time.”
The assault Sahar describes took place near the multicultural area of Pill in the city centre. We arrive there on a cold and grey afternoon in early April. The women in the shop next door - who run a hair and beauty business - tell us how they heard a scream on the morning of the attack. They ran out to see the woman in the doorway, by which point her attacker had fled.
Outside, close to where the incident happened, we meet Farzal and his brother, who run a small pound shop on the far end of Commercial Road. Farzal has lived in Newport for 30 years and was shocked to hear of the attack outside the clothing shop. The area, he says, generally has a bad reputation:
In some ways, the fact that her artwork celebrating Muslim women is being shown in Wales' most official state building, whilst the Henry Jackson Society - who trade in harassing people like Sahar and Ayesha - have been exiled from university campuses, is a reminder that the racists are in the minority. And as with Ilhan Omar in America, people are fighting back.
On top of her photography, Ayesha also volunteers at MEND. The organisation is at the forefront of the fight against Islamaphobia and it is growing in size and influence.
"MEND's really great," she says. "Sahar’s great. She's got so much power and the way she speaks, she really gets her words across."
The only time Sahar may have struggled to speak was in the moment of extreme anger and pain that followed the Christchurch terror attack. But even then, she maintained her determination to fight. At a Cardiff vigil organised on the day of the atrocity, she addressed the gathered crowd, her voice audibly shaking.
"Enough is enough my dear sisters and brothers in humanity." she cried. "We must hold these politicians of fear accountable. We must hold the media, that says 1 in 5 British Muslims sympathise with jihad, accountable. Do you know what this means - it means if you are a family of 5, one of you is a terrorist. It means your neighbour has to watch you. It means you are suspect and you're a threat. This is not how I want to see Cardiff. This is not how I want to see Wales. This is not how I want to see the world. We have to stand against it, because guess what...When you have people from the far right like Douglass Murray saying that to have less terrorism we have to have less Islam, it's someone like me who looks like a Muslim who's at the sharp end of this. We face the abuse in the street. Our hijab, our niqab is being taken off. We don't get jobs and if we do we cannot progress. Is that acceptable? It shouldn't be. All I want is to see Wales, to see the entire world more just, more inclusive and more welcoming."